After a lengthy discussion about a large influx of people coming to Monroe to watch the Fourth of July fireworks and where to put all of them at to comply with the state’s social distancing guidelines, City Council on Tuesday voted to postpone the annual fireworks display to a later date to be determined.
Mayor Jason Frentzel told council that if the city wanted to have a July 4 fireworks show, it needed to contact Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks by June 1.
Councilwoman Christina McElfresh said if the city proceeded to have the fireworks, it would attract people from the area to come to Monroe. She asked if the police would be able to handle the larger influx of people from other communities.
Police Chief Bob Buchanan said Ohio 4 has control points but that there would be significant and lengthy traffic delays. In addition, there is also the concern that nonresidents would park on private property to view the fireworks from the former Americana park that is being constructed as the Monroe Bicentennial Park.
“It would behoove us to have it in September,” he said.
Councilman Tom Callahan disagreed and said it should proceed as scheduled on the Fourth of July. He said the city could check with Butler Tech to allow parking on their property and said people could sit in lawn chairs next to their cars.
McElfresh said, “I want a fun event but how do you enforce social distancing?”
Callahan noted that there have been six confirmed cases of coronavirus reported in Monroe.
“Don’t treat people as children,” he said. “You’re blowing this out of proportion.”
Councilman Todd Hickman said having Fourth of July fireworks was “not realistic” and there was the potential of someone getting hurt. He suggested having the fireworks at Community Park without the food trucks.
Vice Mayor Keith Funk said its important to have fireworks on the Fourth of July, but wasn’t sure if the city could manage the influx of people that would come. Frentzel agreed and said he was not sure the city could handle the overflow of people.
While McElfresh and Councilwoman Anna Hale suggested Labor Day fireworks, but Funk suggested a “to be determined” date for the city’s fireworks. Council voted 5-1 for Funk’s suggestion with Callahan voting no.
Council approves budget reduction
City Manager Bill Brock presented a 5% reduction in the city’s budget to cushion possible income reductions as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The amount cut was about $1.73 million to a new overall budget of nearly $71.4 million. He opted to go with a 5% reduction at this time. Brock presented budget cuts of 10% and 20% at council’s May 12 meeting that were submitted by department heads.
Sports to resume at Community Park
Council also approved the Monroe Sports Association to begin playing their season at Community Park. MSA representatives provided their plans to assure council members that players, teams, parents and coaches would follow state guidelines to stay safe with social distancing, etc.
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